AMERICAN SON to be Released on Netflix

AMERICAN SON will debut on November 1 on Netflix, following its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Based on the acclaimed Broadway play, the Netflix Television Event stars Emmy-nominee Kerry Washington, in a gripping story of an interracial couple trying to find their missing teenage son.

Read more here.

August 13th, 2019   |   Permalink   |  

"East Texas Hot Links" at Atlanta’s Southwest Arts Center

East Texas Hot Links

Greed, corruption and Jim Crow intertwine in the tense thriller "East Texas Hot Links." It’s 1955 in the piney woods of East Texas, and Charlesetta’s Top O’ the Hill Cafe is one of the only public places where black locals can gather for comfort, solace and companionship. In a community dominated by the Ku Klux Klan, young black men have begun disappearing and turning up dead. On one hot summer night, the patrons of the Top O’ the Hill must join forces to protect one of their own. When danger comes knocking, the unthinkable happens, with dire consequences for all involved.

Both a riveting mystery and a compelling character study reminiscent of The Twilight Zone, East Texas Hot Links is coming to the stage at Atlanta’s Southwest Arts Center.

July 16 - August 11, 2019

Contains adult language.

More Information

June 18th, 2019   |   Permalink   |  

Lee Wins Hayes Award for Outstanding Actor in a Play - “Two Trains Running” at Arena Stage

Eugene Lee, Two Trains Running

The 35th annual Helen Hayes Awards honored local theater on Monday, May 13, at The Anthem. The winners for the Helen Hayes Awards are categorized by Equity (the "Hayes" awards) and non-Equity (the "Helen" awards).

Eugene Lee won the Robert Prosky Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Play - Hayes ("Two Trains Running," Arena Stage)

More Here

May 18th, 2019   |   Permalink   |  

Eugene Lee Elected to Texas Institute of Letters (TIL)

Texas Institute of Letters

Members of the Texas Institute of Letters have overwhelming approved seventeen writers to join the ranks of the TIL, a distinguished honor society founded in 1936 to celebrate Texas literature and recognize distinctive literary achievement. The TIL’s membership consists of the state’s most respected writers – including winners of the Pulitzer Prize, National Book Award, Academy Award, Tony Award, Americas Award, International Latino Book Award, and the MacArthur “Genius” grant. Membership is based on literary accomplishments and is granted only though an election by existing members.

Members of the Texas Institute of Letters have overwhelming approved seventeen writers to join the ranks of the TIL, a distinguished honor society founded in 1936 to celebrate Texas literature and recognize distinctive literary achievement.

The TIL’s membership consists of the state’s most respected writers – including winners of the Pulitzer Prize, National Book Award, Academy Award, Tony Award, Americas Award, International Latino Book Award, and the MacArthur “Genius” grant. Membership is based on literary accomplishments and is granted only though an election by existing members.

The 2019 honorees include three-time-Oscar-nominated screenwriter-director Wes Anderson (Houston); playwright and Broadway actor Eugene Lee (San Marcos); poets Rosa Alcalá (El Paso), Robin Davidson (Houston), and Carrie Fountain (Austin); and fiction writers Tim Z. Hernandez (El Paso), Wendell Mayo (Corpus Christi /Ohio), and Ito Romo (Laredo/San Antonio); scholars Patrick Cox (Wimberley), Betty Sue Flowers (Austin/New York) and Ellen Clarke Temple (Lufkin); non-fiction writers Wes Ferguson (Austin), John MacCormack (San Antonio); songwriter and children’s book author Tish Hinojosa (San Antonio/Austin), Documentary and Feature Filmmaker Jesús Salvador Treviño (El Paso/ Los Angeles); children’s book author Xavier Garza (Rio Grande City/ San Antonio); and theater critic/playwright Robert Faires (Austin.)

Dr. Carmen Tafolla, President of the Texas Institute of Letters states, “We are very proud of the great diversity of exceptional talents in this year’s honorees. These seventeen exemplars of literary innovation span the creative gamut from stage plays to song lyrics and from history to poetry, fiction, journalism, children’s works and filmmaking. The Institute has again picked the very finest representatives of what it means to be outstanding, productive and dynamically engaged in the advancement of the letters.”

Read Press Release Here

January 30th, 2019   |   Permalink   |  

Netflix Adapting "American Son" – Lee Reprising Role from Hit Broadway Production


American Son


Netflix announced that it is adapting the hit 2018 play, with Scandal‘s Kerry Washington, Steven Pasquale (The Good Wife), Jeremy Jordan (Supergirl), and Eugene Lee (A Soldier’s Play) reprising their roles from the current Broadway production.

Written by Christopher Demos-Brown, the entire play takes place inside a Miami police station and delves into issues of race, identity, class, and police violence. Washington and Pasquale star as an estranged couple who are looking for answers about their missing 18-year-old son, and Jordan and Lee play the officers they interact with.

“I felt like I knew these characters, but I’d never seen them, particularly [her character] Kendra, before,” Washington told EW in November, as she explained what attracted her to this play so soon after her hit ABC drama ended. “I wanted to help bring her to life because I loved the idea of her being a part of our theatrical canon. I wanted her story to be told.”

She added: “[The story] is timely, but also I think it’s been part of the historic DNA of what it is to be an African-American mother, just to worry for the safety of your child…Part of all mothering is the lack of control over this other human being who, once they’re outside your body, makes their own decisions and has their own dangers. But there’s the added layer of powerlessness as a black mother because of the institutionalized racism and the cultural practices that endanger black children.”

January 22nd, 2019   |   Permalink   |  

Interview with "American Son" star Eugene Lee

American Son

If you prefer your dramas hard-hitting and impactful, then look no further than the current Broadway premiere of American Son, written by Christopher Demos-Brown and directed by Tony Award winner Kenny Leon, which continues its limited run at the Booth Theatre through to January 27, 2019.

The action takes place in a police station in Miami, Florida, in the middle of the night and as the rain pours outside, a distraught mother (played by Golden Globe & Emmy Award nominee Kerry Washington) waits in all-consuming distress for news on her missing teenage son. Demos-Brown's thriller is a hotly topical piece of theatre, ripped straight from the headlines of police brutality and #BlackLivesMatter that continue to sweep this divided country. It is a 90-minute onslaught of emotions that sadly might also be described as a documentary in our current climate and a capable cast of four endure the psychological hardships of performing such a play eight times a week to deliver its important message to those open to receive it.

Alongside Ms. Washington (as Kendra Ellis-Connor), are Drama Desk nominee Steven Pasquale (as Scott Connor), Tony Award nominee Jeremy Jordan (as Officer Paul Larkin), and Eugene Lee (as Lieutenant John Stokes). Mr. Lee is a veteran of both stage and screen, as well as a playwright, performing in some of the most prestigious theatres across the country, from the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. to Los Angeles’ Mark Taper Forum, Chicago’s Goodman Theatre, Boston’s Huntington Theatre, and the Public Theater in NYC, among many others. He also appeared in the 2004 Broadway premiere of August Wilson's Gem of the Ocean and in such television shows as “The Women of Brewster Place” opposite Oprah Winfrey, “Dallas,” “Good Times,” “The White Shadow,” and “The District”. Over the years, he has worked closely with the Negro Theatre Ensemble and is currently the Artist in Residence and Artistic Director of the Black and Latino Playwright’s Conference at Texas State University.

We recently had the opportunity to get Mr. Lee's thoughts on the importance of this unforgiving and salient production...

Kerry Washington, Steven Pasquale & Eugene Lee in American Son
(Photo by Peter Cunningham)

What first attracted you to the project and/or the role of Lieutenant John Stokes?

Reading the script. It’s the truth.

Do you personally know anyone who works for the police that helped you form the character? Or what were some of your influences?

I have known people, very close friends, who worked in law enforcement who have all impacted what I know about what the job demands of an individual and I’ve played more than a handful of cops over the years.

There are some particularly loaded exchanges between Stokes and Kerry Washington’s character of Kendra Ellis-Connor. Can you tell us a little bit about the intricacies of those exchanges and the importance of both characters being African-American?

Two Black people talking from two different and legitimate American perspectives.

With a play of such dramatically high emotional stakes, how do you and the rest of the cast maintain a balance and nurture camaraderie backstage?

The play is emotionally taxing. Fortunately, it’s only ninety minutes.  But we all kinda know and feel like before every show, there’s someone out there who needs what we’re bringing so this company is tirelessly inspired by the export of this play.

In what ways do you personally believe a Broadway play can influence or impact a movement such as #BlackLivesMatter?

A Broadway play like this that walks 360 around an issue honestly and truthfully can make an impact on the lives of any one who experiences it. Every audience member comes to such a play with their own truth, their own perspective and experience, but they leave with more than they came with, when they gain new insight into someone else’s truth and experience and people don’t change until they get new information. And in an ideal world, they won’t keep it to themselves but share.

Christopher Demos-Brown, Steven Pasquale, Kerry Washington, Eugene Lee,
Jeremy Jordan & Kenny Leon
December 18th, 2018   |   Permalink   |  

Eugene Lee On "American Son," August Wilson, And Nurturing Young Black And Latino Playwrights

American Son” is a new play, now in previews on Broadway and marking the Broadway debut of playwright Christopher Demos-Brown. The play had its world premiere in 2016 at Barrington Stage Company in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. The new drama examines our nation’s racial divide through the eyes of an estranged, interracial couple. Over the course of one evening, the couple’s disparate backgrounds collide as they confront an unexpected crisis involving their son, the police, and an abandoned car.

On Broadway, the play stars Kerry Washington, Steven Pasquale, Jeremy Jordan and our guest, Eugene Lee.

Lee once performed for President Lyndon B. Johnson at his Texas ranch in a command performance of “A Raisin the Sun.” Forty-five plus years later, he is still performing in film, television and theater, and he has also become an acclaimed writer. He has worked and traveled with New York’s renowned Negro Theatre Ensemble, performing in the Pulitzer Prize winning “A Soldier’s Play” and numerous other works. He is considered a “Wilsonian Warrior” for his many appearances in the works of August Wilson, including the Broadway production of “Gem of the Ocean.” He is Artist in Residence and Artistic Director of the Black and Latino Playwright’s Conference at Texas State University.

Listen to the interview here.

October 25th, 2018   |   Permalink   |  

Five Questions with Eugene Lee

In an e-mail interview with multi-hyphenate theater artist Eugene Lee, the former high school teacher said it was "encouraging experiences in community theater" during his time as a teacher, as well as local opportunities in TV and radio that moved him to commit to a career as a theater artist. Though he's no longer spending his days in a classroom, that early experience undergirds Lee's work in theater. As he told us, "I like to think I still teach with my work." Here are five more questions we had for Lee. 

NEA: If you had to write a job description for your work as an actor, what would it say?

EUGENE LEE: Storytelling skills, clarity and truth.

NEA: According to your bio, you’ve done all but two of August Wilson’s plays. Why do you keep going back to his work as an actor?

LEE: The opportunity to do one of these plays is an honor and a privilege and the kind of challenge every actor worth their salt craves for themselves.  [August Wilson writes] full-bodied passionate characters with strengths and flaws and dignity. Wilson’s stories are uniquely American. They take place on American soil depicting the lives of Americans, specifically African-Americans. [His work is an] intimate genuine look at people.

NEA: What do you see as the role of the artist in the community?

LEE: To bear witness and then to share witness. To document and celebrate the human condition. To teach. To inspire.

NEA: What do you think theater can do as an form that no other art form can?

LEE: I think what we do can heal. I believe what we do by shining light on the nuance and detail of culture and the human condition can foster an intimate understanding across cultural lines that, with time, can assassinate hate. [It’s] hard to hate something or someone you can understand. When what we do conveys new information is when it can change a heart.

NEA: Why do the arts matter?

LEE: The arts nurture and inspire.


May 18th, 2018   |   Permalink   |  

2016 Post-Gazette Performer of the Year: Eugene Lee

Performer of the Year is an individual award, honoring an actor in a show staged in Pittsburgh (touring shows are not eligible). The winner normally has Pittsburgh ties, and previous winners are not eligible; if they were, the selection would be even harder, with many previous winners still active (see full list on Page C-7).

Given those criteria, one name kept coming up: Eugene Lee, who played the grumpy, complex Pops in Stephen Adly Guirgis’ Pulitzer Prize-winning “Between Riverside and Crazy” at the Pittsburgh Public Theater. That was another superb ensemble, perhaps not surprisingly, because an individual actor contributes to an ensemble and benefits from the ensemble as well.

Although a Texan (and a Cowboys fan), Mr. Lee has some strong Pittsburgh ties, especially via August Wilson, having appeared in eight of the 10 plays in his Century Cycle. One was on Broadway, where he played Eli in “Gem of the Ocean” and was suggested for the role by Mr. Wilson himself. In Pittsburgh, he appeared in “Two Trains Running” and “The Piano Lesson” at Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre.

But before “Riverside,” Pittsburgh knew Mr. Lee best for playing August Wilson himself in 2015 at Public Theater, in Mr. Wilson’s 11th play, his one-man autobiographical “How I Learned What I Learned.”

He also has been in and out of Pittsburgh, not just to buy Steelers gear for his teenage son (who has transcended his Cowboys heritage), but also to participate in various panels and readings celebrating Mr. Wilson’s work. Mr. Lee is a “Wilsonian Warrior,” as the playwright called the core group of his favorite actors. When he saw him play Troy in “Fences” in Atlanta, he said, “That’s Troy: all the colors.”

We may see him next as a playwright. In 2018, Pittsburgh Playwrights plans to stage his “East Texas Hot Links,” which has been done from Los Angles to London since it debuted in 1994 and is scheduled to be filmed this spring, with Mr. Lee directing and Samuel L. Jackson as executive producer.

Among his many other plays, the best known may be “Fear Itself,” and he has many TV writing credits, including episodes of “Homicide: Life on the Streets” and “Walker, Texas Ranger.”

As an actor, he began as a college student in a command performance of “A Raisin in the Sun” for President Lyndon B. Johnson. His early acting work began co-starring with Denzel Washington and Samuel L. Jackson in the Negro Ensemble Company’s famous 1981 premiere of the Pulitzer-winning “A Soldier’s Play.” He has been busy ever since on stage, on screen and as artist in residence and artistic director of the Black and Latino Playwrights Conference at Texas State University, which celebrated its 15th year last year.




January 10th, 2017   |   Permalink   |  

Meet the Artists: A Conversation with Playwright Eugene Lee

Reginald Edmund: Actor, Director, Playwright, Television Writer, Husband, Father, Teacher, Artistic Director of a New Play Festival for Black and Latino writers: My big question is… is there anything you don’t do?

Eugene Lee: Yes. I don’t eat okra.

RE: How did you get your start as a professional actor?

EL: It’s been so long ago, man, I’m not sure how to answer that. My first professional gig was in college in a commercial for a bank in Austin, Texas. After college I worked a lot in Dallas in theatre and doing commercials and training videos and as an extra in the early episodes of the original Dallas and other films as well as working as a news announcer for KKDA radio, “Soul for the Southwest”. Ron Howard cast me in his directing debut of a television movie called Cotton Candy in 1978, and after filming that I packed up and moved to L.A.

RE: What made you want to start writing your own plays?

EL: Working with the Negro Ensemble Company doing only new plays, I decided to try my hand at creating some work during a downtime. The process of finding a play intrigued me and we were essentially taking plays off of folks’ typewriters and standing them up on stage. I wanted to try my hand at storytelling.

RE: How did growing up in East Texas affect how you approach playwriting?

EL: I like to think I am writing about some people I had never seen or heard about on the American stage. My family and their stories and histories were compelling and made of Texas-sized love and hate, which seemed perfect for the theatre in that they are dramatic and funny and poignant and worthy of celebrating. The rhythms in their language; the dignity in their character; their flaws, the food, the music that nourished my spirit, the village that raised me.

RE: Do you consider any playwrights your idols or mentors? Who had the most influence on your writing?

EL: August Wilson definitely influenced my storytelling. He told me once that, “It’s alright to let them talk.” In fact, it’s important that I get out of the way and let them talk. I’m also influenced by the classics and their structure as paradigms for dramatic literature. And the absurdists as well as the likes of Rod Serling and Paddy Chayefsky. And of course Samm-Art Williams and Douglas Turner Ward.

RE: Where did the idea for East Texas Hot Links come from?

EL: That’s a long story, man, but essentially the metaphor is in the title: “Links” in the food chain. The play is about how we feed off of each other.

Alfred H. Wilson, Willie B. Photo by Michael Brosilow

Alfred H. Wilson, Willie B.
Photo by Michael Brosilow

RE: What about East Texas Hot Links captivated you as something you wanted to work on?

EL: I never sat in a room with a white person or had a real conversation with a white person until I was in high school when they integrated the schools. So beyond Jim Crow laws and attitudes, white people didn’t have a physical “presence” in my life very much (in fact, I preferred to avoid them whenever I could and segregation made that easy). So the antagonist is this play is not white people but the Judas goat that sits amongst us.

RE: Tell us about the world that these characters live in. Who are these people, and the times they live in?

EL: Man, this is Texas in the 1950’s. In the days and years before integration. Up in town there were white and colored-only drinking fountains (we always thought the white-only fountains had Kool-Aid in them). There were colored schools and white schools. Separate but by no means equal. The Piney Woods of East Texas and a little black hole in the woods (The Top o’ the Hill Café), where these characters come together to nourish each other in the shadows of the majestic pine forest. There’s blues on the box and cold beer and moonshine and lies and truths to feed on. And just up the road apiece the Klan is burning a cross in a field.

RE: I read recently that East Texas Hot Links is going to be turned into a film by Samuel L. Jackson. Has that gotten underway yet, and if so, how has the process of adapting this amazing play into a screenplay been?

EL: When I sat down to write this I originally intended to write an episode of The Twilight Zone, so adapting the screenplay wasn’t very hard to do at all. I always loved what Rod Serling was able to accomplish with one setting and sometimes just one character. Compelling narratives and character arcs, nuanced and complex storytelling. Sam has come on board as executive producer and we’re in the process of securing financing to make this adaptation.

RE: What do you hope an audience will walk away with after seeing East Texas Hot Links in 2016?

EL: This community comes together to save the life of this young man. Delmus Green (fruit that’s not quite ripe for picking) has dreams of being more than this landscape will allow. He certainly will become a major figure in the Civil Rights movement as a result of the events of this night in this little cafe in the woods. Hope, at the expense of life and this place that has been shelter for so many. Justice, as survivors eliminate the snake hissing amongst them as the sun comes up the next morning. A new day…

Kevin Roston, Jr., Alfred H. Wilson, Willie B., Antoine Pierre Whitfield, Tyla Abercrumbie, A.C. Smith, Luce Metrius, Namir Smallwood Photo by Michael Brosilow
October 26th, 2016   |   Permalink   |  

All the Colors: How I Learned What I Learned

Beginning on March 5, actor Eugene Lee returns to the Huntington Theatre Company to star in How I Learned What I Learned, August Wilson’s powerful, inspiring theatrical memoirs.


Wilson’s Century Cycle, 10 plays that each detail a different decade of the African-American experience in America, are among the most important and influential in American drama.


Both Lee and the Huntington have a long, rich history with Wilson and his plays. It is hard to think of an actor—or a theater company—more suited to bring this story to life.


Speaking by phone the day before he arrived in Boston, Lee spoke to me about his favorite August Wilson memory, the enduring appeal of his plays, and what he thinks of nontraditional casting.


You’ve done several August Wilson plays at the Huntington, so this is like a homecoming for you.

Yeah, it is. I did Gem of the Ocean, Fences, and Radio Golf.


How involved was August Wilson with Gem of the Ocean and Radio Golf here in Boston?

Very much so. The plays, they traveled around to regional theaters, and he was working on them constantly at each of the stops. And actually, the last stop before Broadway for both of those two plays was the Huntington. And at the Huntington, for example, for Gem of the Ocean, he was there and the play was running over three hours. He was being told from all angles and all sides that we can’t go to Broadway and keep those union workers after 11 at night. [laughs] The week before we left Boston, he came in and he cut like 45 minutes out of that play. The week before we left.


What was it like having him present through the whole rehearsal process?

It’s great, man. That’s the source, if you know what I mean.



No. I’d say not. It’s such a wonderful learning experience, to have him there and to have a firsthand insight into the inspiration, the nuances, if you need them. For most of the people that I’ve worked with with August, especially the quote-unquote “Wilsonian Warriors,” as we’re known, it’s nice to have him around just for confirmation, in some cases. It was a joy to have him around. He’s a great guy and a wonderful teacher.


How much do you draw from your memories of August? Is it that kind of performance?

No. That kind of mimicry or whatever was never a target for me with this. I’m channeling his storytelling, I’m channeling his inspiration for all of these characters. I try to find clarity and truth in whatever I’m doing. I don’t know that I necessarily look much like August, but there are common denominators, and I didn’t want to cheapen my sense of truth, my sense of this man. We share some of the same kind of challenges in our journey, if you know what I mean. I grew up in a segregated Texas, and so we both, in a strange kind of way, are part of what I call the “transitional generation” even though he’s a little older than me. I identify with so much of his storytelling, from the first kiss in the seventh grade to moral and ethical challenges and disappointments with the world and with people. And not necessarily white people. I recall hearing him talk about transitioning from hate to disappointment in terms of the world and the people in the world.


Do you consider it an honor to be doing this play?

Very much so.


Josh Lamkin Photography

Josh Lamkin Photography

Why do you think that people continue to flock to his plays?

Any number of reasons. The language is beautiful to listen to; the characters are recognizable. It’s, “That’s my cousin,” “That’s my daddy’s baby sister.” And it’s the truth. They’re characters that you understand even though you don’t like what they do, for example. That’s the kind of thing that people want to go to the theater to see. They want to see themselves; they want to see their strengths, their pain. They want to see people grappling with the same kinds of demons. And they want to see their history. That’s another part of what August has done in a wonderful way: He’s documented what these newly freed slaves in this experiment called America did with their freedom over a decade. One 10-year period at a time. And it’s wonderful to me to experience all 10 of these plays and watch these people move further away from Africa with each decade. And even in the rhythms in the language, from freshly freed slaves in 1902 in Gem of the Ocean to playing golf, Radio Golf, at the end of the next century. Just what these people did with their freedom is amazing to me, and I think that’s what so much of what those 10 plays, that cycle, is about. And it’s history and it’s knowing who we are and where we came from. It helps us make it to tomorrow in a lot of ways.


What is your favorite August Wilson memory?

There are a couple that are very selfish. When he saw me do Troy in Fences in Atlanta with [director] Kenny Leon, when he first started his theater company True Colors. That’s the most time I ever spent with August, actually. After he saw the first preview, he said, “That’s Troy. All the colors.” It was the most simple thing that he could have said to me, but nothing has ever made me feel better about what I was doing than hearing it from him. That’s my favorite August memory.


The Huntington has been very committed to August Wilson. As you know, it’s done all 10 of his plays; this is the 11th. What is it like working with the Huntington on August’s plays? Do you notice a special commitment?

I do notice that. All the way down to the outreach, to the schools. There’s a commitment to building an audience not only for the Huntington, but for this playwright and for his storytelling, to take it out into the schools in that way. And that speaks to their commitment as much as the fact that they’ve done all ten of them.


I’m so glad that kids get exposed to this kind of theater.

Oh man, it’s important; it’s important that they see more than just Tennessee Williams and Arthur Miller and William Shakespeare. It really is important. I work at Texas State University as an artist in residence, and I’ve been on a mission since I got here for them to share the wealth, you know, even with this concept of nontraditional casting. Yeah, that’s great for educational theater, but these young black and Latino students need to sit in their own stories. They shouldn’t always be asked to play white roles. It’s unintended, but it’s the way it’s always been. I have to say to them, “Look guys, we’ve got to turn this corner, we’ve got to make a conscious effort to involve as many of these students and to give them the opportunity to let them sink their teeth into some of their own cultural truths.” We owe them that, I think. August used to have the same discussion about asking black actors to pose in white roles. I’ve done enough of that in my life.


Do you think that How I Learned What I Learned is a fitting grand finale for August Wilson?

Yeah. I don’t think it was intended to be that, so it probably makes it more fitting. I think we’re all teachers and I know that about August and his work. And where there’s teaching, there’s learning. Basically How I Learned What I Learned is this 20-year-old poet in Pittsburgh identifying as our moral compass, picking the roads he was going to travel, making some choices, writing about some challenges. There’s plenty to be learned from what he learned. One thing that this play speaks to is that he talks about—and it’s in the title—how I learned what I learned. I’ve always believed that that’s the most important lesson that I learned, and that’s how to learn. I mean, speaking as an actor, I never know what my next job is going to ask me to know. And that’s a really wonderful, thrilling place to be.



February 25th, 2016   |   Permalink   |  

To Compromise or Not Compromise? That is the Question: Eugene Lee and Clinnesha D. Sibley in Conversation

Eugene:           Yeah. This whole thing is gonna open a can of worms. There are some questions. I circled a bunch of words because we’re writers and we know the word is where it is.

Clinnesha:       That’s right.

Eugene:           There is a need. There is a desperate need. I mean we talked the other day about some of my encounters in Texas with the Playwrights Conference and the African-American students who just have minimal insight of who they are and…that’s really kind of distressing to me. So the need for this is real. Is this not just for black artists?

Clinnesha:       It’s not because we’re still trying to cultivate a large number of us. You know, I have worked with white directors, white dramaturgs and, you know, I’ve worked with people who don’t necessarily own the black experience but they’re in tune enough to gather an appreciation for our stories, our narrative. And so, because I know that there can be a genuine encounter with white artists, I feel inclined to say this is not just for black people. This is for anyone who wants to and is committed to telling black stories.

Eugene:           The other part of that, for me, is…when it’s not in your blood, can white theatre artists benefit from this approach. Can they even adopt this approach? Is it even accessible to them? Can it be infused in their blood I guess is the question.

Read More

April 15th, 2015   |   Permalink   |